Mattel Now Selling Barbie’s In Petite, Curvy And Tall
It’s a big day for the Barbies — and we don’t mean Nicki Minaj fans. TIME magazine just got an exclusive look at the new curvy, petite and tall Barbies that Mattel has begun selling in response to a major dip in sales for the iconic doll as well as ongoing criticism over the years about how her proportions influence girls and women.
“Barbie’s got a new body. Three new bodies, actually: petite, tall and curvy, in Mattel’s exhaustively debated lexicon, and beginning Jan. 28 they will be sold alongside the original busty, thin-waisted form on Barbie.com. They’ll all be called Barbie, but it’s the curvy one—with meat on her thighs and a protruding tummy and behind—that marks the most startling change to the most infamous body in the world…. It’s a massive risk for Mattel. Barbie is more than just a doll. The brand does $1 billion in sales across more than 150 countries annually, and 92% of American girls ages 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie, thanks in part to her affordable $10 price tag. She’s been the global symbol of a certain kind of American beauty for generations, with brand recognition that’s up there with Mickey Mouse.”
“The company hopes that the new dolls, with their diverse body types, along with the new skin tones and hair textures introduced last year, will more closely reflect their young owners’ world. But the initiative could also backfire—if it’s not too late altogether…. But staying the course was not an option. Barbie sales plummeted 20% from 2012 to 2014 and continued to fall last year. A line of toys designed to teach girls to build, Lego Friends, helped boost Lego above Mattel as the biggest toy company in the world in 2014. Then Hasbro won the Disney Princess business away from Mattel, just as Elsa from the film Frozen dethroned Barbie as the most popular girl’s toy. The estimated revenue loss to Mattel from Elsa and the other Disney Princesses is $500 million.”
Damn… That’s a ton of cash. Do you think curvy Barbie has arrived right on time or is it too little too late?
Hit the flip for some expert opinions on whether the shift came too late.
On a new generation of mothers seeking more-empowering toys, Evelyn Mazzocco, head of the Barbie brand, tells TIME:
“The millennial mom is a small part of our consumer base, but we recognize she’s the future…. Yes, some people will say we are late to the game. But changes at a huge corporation take time.”
Jess Weiner, a branding expert and consultant who has worked with Dove, Disney, Mattel and the White House to create empowering messaging for girls, tells TIME:
“Barbie has all this baggage. Her status as an empowered woman has been lost.”
One mom in a Mattel testing group said:
“She’s cute thick. I have the hardest time finding clothes that are fitted and look good. It’s like if you’re bigger you have to wear a sack. But she doesn’t look like that.”
Another mother said Mattel didn’t go far enough:
“I wish that she were curvier. There are shapes that are curvier and still are beautiful. My daughter definitely has curves, and I would want to give her a doll like that. It’s a start I guess.”
Guess the real question is, will you be buying one for your kid?